The final blade

Alisha slips out of her sequined robe and takes her position against the wall. She flashes a toothy, showbiz smile. A blade thuds beside her hip. The handle vibrates a moment.

The audience gasps. Cheers. They admire her nervelessness. They admire his skill. A dagger grazes her shoulder. She smiles. Beside one ear. Beside the other. He surrounds her with blades.

Pinned like a specimen she watches his eyes—this man she once loved. He took her away when that’s what she needed. Pretending not to be scared—that was easy. That was her whole life in that house with that father.

‘Throw whatever you like at me,’ she’d said. She faked her age and went on the road. It had been almost perfect. Then, when he started noticing the jitters of age, the knife thrower turned on her with false accusations as if she were to blame. She moved into a different trailer.

But good assistants are hard to find. And what else does she know? She watches his eyes. They go to her soft belly, her hard heart. They search around her before settling, where they should be. He throws. His last knife nails her hair to the wall. The crowd gasps and cheers again. She steps away, ducking out of the hairpiece suspended on the wall.


2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (